Pop and Event

‘Popular Music and/as Event: Subjectivity, Love and Fidelity in the Aftermath of Rock ’n’ Roll’

Radical Musicology, 3. http://www.radical-musicology.org.uk/2008/Elliott.htm.

This article discusses the usefulness of attaching a philosophy of the event to popular music studies. I am attempting to think about the ways that rock ’n’ roll functions as a musical revolution that becomes subjected to a narrative of loss accompanying the belief that the revolution has floundered, or even disappeared completely. In order to think about what this narrative of loss might entail I have found myself going back to the emergence of rock ’n’ roll, to what we might term its ‘event’, and then working towards the present to take stock of the current situation. The article is divided into three parts. Part One attempts to think of the emergence of rock ’n’ roll and its attendant discourse alongside Alain Badiou’s notion of event, looking at ways in which listening
subjects are formed. Part Two continues the discussion of listening subjectivity while shifting the focus to objects associated with phonography. Part Three attends to a number of difficulties encountered in the Badiouian project and asks to what extent rock music might be thought of as a lost cause. All three parts deal with notions of subjectivity, love and fidelity.

Available here.

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